Brexit calendar: What are the future key dates for Brits in France?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 6 Dec, 2020 Updated Sun 6 Dec 2020 09:36 CEST
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A key Brexit date is looming at the end of the year, but for British people in France, there are some other important dates to be aware of in the coming months.


December 31st, 2021

The transition period that has been in place since Britain left the EU on January 31st 2020 - and kept most things the same - comes to an end on December 31st.

Freedom of movement ends

This date marks the last day that British nationals can take advantage of freedom of movement. They must be resident in France if they wish to take advantage of the more generous provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, which guarantees right to residency, work and life-long health cover.

And if they are resident in France by the end of the year, moving elsewhere in Europe after December 31st won't be as easy because onward freedom of movement comes to an end at the stroke of midnight.

Deadline for EHIC cards 

British students and pensioners who are S1 holders living in the EU can continue to use the EHIC (European Health Insurance Cards) after Brexit when they return to the UK.

But their current cards are only valid until December 31st, 2020 after that date new cards are needed. S1 holders and students living in France are encouraged to apply for a new EHIC card if they are due to travel to the UK in the New Year. More info HERE.

READ ALSO What is the difference moving to France before or after December 31st?



January 1st, 2020

This is the big one, the first day that the UK emerges into the world without any formal ties to the EU (apart from possibly a trade deal, if one is agreed in time).

It marks a lot of changes for tourists and second home owners in France, both for travel and the rules on length of stay.

READ ALSO How will the 90-day rule work in France after Brexit?



January 1st also marks the day when UK passports will no longer be accepted for travel within the EU if they have less than 6 months until their expiry date - so check your passport and renew if necessary. For people who are resident in France, however, not a lot changes on January 1st unless they are planning to travel.

From January 1st 2021

Driving licence exchange

British citizens who have a UK or Northern Ireland issued driving licence can now swap it for a French one.

You cannot apply to make the swap before January 1st (unless you fit certain criteria such as having a lost of stolen licence) but you have until December 31st, 2021 to make the swap.

For full details on how to swap your licence, click HERE.

June 30th, 2021

Residency card application deadline

This is the final deadline for British citizens who were resident in France before December 31st 2020 to have applied for their carte de séjour post-Brexit residency permit.

This deadline is for you to have made the application, not to have received the card - for full details on how to apply - click HERE.

If you apply after this date, your application will be dealt with under the much stricter rules for Third Country Nationals, unless you can make a convincing case of the exceptional circumstances that meant you couldn't apply in time.

October 1st, 2021

Residency cards must be obtained

This is the deadline for all British people who were resident in France before December 31st 2020 to be in possession of the new post-Brexit carte de séjour.

Any British person resident in France after this date who doesn't have a card will be considered undocumented and potentially lose access to health and social care.

October 1st, 2021

Identity cards invalid

This also marks the date when French or other EU national identity cards will no longer be valid to enter the UK.

This doesn't directly affect British people, but if you are travelling to the UK with a French friend or family member, remind them that they will need a passport after this date and not a national ID card.

December 31st, 2021

Driving licence deadline

This is the deadline for British people who were resident in France before December 31st 2020 to have applied to swap their licence for a French one.

After this date, UK or NI licences will not be recognised for residents to drive on (although tourists can still drive on a British licence). If you do not make the swap within the timeframe you will have to take a French driving test to gain a French licence. 

March 2022

Moving home with family

This is the final date when British nationals can move back to the UK with a European partner or spouse without them having to meet tough new criteria on income, skills and English language level.

After this date any EU citizen must meet strict immigration criteria including a minimum income level - and having a British spouse will not affect this.

Have we missed any key Brexit dates? Please email us [email protected]



The Local 2020/12/06 09:36

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